Microsoft is bringing x64 app emulation to Windows on ARM PCs

Microsoft is bringing x64 app emulation to Windows on ARM PCs

Microsoft has finally revealed that support for x64 emulation is coming to Windows on ARM. Right now, Windows on ARM devices can run native 32-bit ARM and 64-bit ARM apps, but they can only emulate x86-32 apps. That has meant devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro X have been unable to run a lot of existing apps built for Windows 10.

The addition of x64 app emulation for Windows on ARM will open up a variety of new possibilities and close the app gap problem, since plenty of modern Windows apps do not support x86-32 any longer. Microsoft makes it clear that x64 emulation is coming to all Windows on ARM devices, even devices running on platforms as old as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. Of course, the performance of emulated apps won’t be as good as native apps, but the alternative is simply being unable to run the app at all.

Microsoft said the new x64 emulation support will first be available to users on the Windows Insider Program in November, with wider availability rolling out sometime next year.

Over the past several months, Microsoft has worked to beef up the Windows on ARM experience, with work underway to bring Xbox Game Streaming to users. The company also announced a collaboration with Qualcomm to improve app compatibility for Windows 10 on ARM PCs and expand the App Assure program to cover Windows 10 on ARM64 PCs.

Today’s announcement may foreshadow the arrival of a new Surface Pro X device, which has been rumored as recently as this month. If the reports turn out to be true, the device will feature the company’s latest Surface SQ2 processor, which may be based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G, and launch sometime in October.

As part of today’s announcement, the company also said it’s making Microsoft Edge faster while using less battery, and will soon release a native Microsoft Teams client that’s optimized for Windows 10 on ARM.

About author

Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.